Victor & Gord Interview

February 18, 2010


Someone once said that friendship is as delicate as glass; once broken it can be fixed but there will always be cracks. Most people keep these cracks well hidden, letting them shear like fault lines but most people are not Una McKevitt, an associate artist with the Project Arts Centre and creator of Victor & Gord which returns in its third incarnation in the Project this week. The show features three non-professional actors and is a rough and ready look at the effects the sands of time have on life long friendships.

Victor (Vikki)& Gord’s (Una’s sister Aine) friendship was the spring board on which the show was launched and it has previously also features a brother and a sister and two strangers getting to know one another. Was it tough working with ones sister under such intense, exploratory circumstances?

“Aine challenged me more than Vikki would” Una says, laying out the differences between the two performers. “Aine wanted to talk through everything all the time while Vikki was more easy going. But because what I’m asking people to do is to go out on stage and talk about themselves and open themselves up to strangers I had to keep the room with as little tension as possible.”

With no fourth wall between the audience and the performers anything can happen and McKevitt had to keep her actors in a place where they were confident. “It’s nerve wracking enough because they are not professional performers they need more reassurance. But if somebody is talking about himself or herself it’s important that it doesn’t sound overly rehearsed. So we didn’t write anything down. We did things through repetition. People talking about their life having learned about their own life.”

She was inspired to create Victor & Gord after a life changing theatrical experience at Fringe’08. “I went to see “Susan and Darren, which was about a mother and a son, which was very revelatory for me. They weren’t acting but it was still a piece of theatre. They were so aware of their audience which I found much more engaging than a lot of the theatre I was seeing at the time and it permanently affected the way I looked at the medium.”

Having wanted to work in theatre all her life but never feeling drawn enough to any one text to mount a production McKevitt felt the pieces of the puzzle come together. “I think things should be immediately evident. They shouldn’t be so complicated. So serious. So hidden. I know they have to be on some level but sitting down and trying to interpret a book was never what I wanted to do. I can’t even think of a play that I want to stage. I prefer going into a space and not knowing what’s going to happen.”

The play also gives life to characters that have been under represented on the main stage, that of young, middle class people who haven’t been through the horrors but still have a story to tell. “One of the tensions was that Vikki came out and wanted to go to the George and Aine wanted to go to the Queens in Dalkey and that tension of trying to stay friends despite this is a dynamic I have not seen on stage before.

Having thrice staged the production, making it fresh each time, where does Una see it going from here? “Were building a Victor and Gord family. The people who weren’t available this time might be available next time and people who are now might not be then. There is something interesting about that.”

She couldn’t do it without Victor and Gord. “They are the anchors for the piece. But it’s nice to know that people I haven’t met yet might join in. It always feels like a new experience every time I’ve staged it so I can certainly imagine doing it again.”

VICTOR AND GORD, 8.15PM, 15 – 27 FEB 2010, Tickets €15/12

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